Let me start by saying that my premise of voting for Alexi Amarista, arguably the worst player on the Padres, is not as ridiculous as it may sound.
I used to live in DC for a long time after college and got pretty used to talking to buttoned up dweebs who worked for some Congressman or lobbyist or non-profit that wouldn’t shut up about elections. A few things I learned are that most states just don’t matter because they, no matter how hard the opposition tries, will vote a certain way. In fact, we live in one of those states. California is hardly worth the money, time or effort for a national Republican candidate to actively campaign in as the populace just won’t vote Republican. Instead, the parties will concentrate on “swing states” that could go to either party. In essence, they look at the battlefield, pick the winnable battles, and try to win them. They see the losing battles, concede them, and pool their resources into the campaigns that are winnable. These same political science principles can be applied to the 2015 All Star Game voting to maximize the Padres’ return in getting someone elected for the first time since Tony Gwynn in 1999.
Yesterday, the first NL All-Star Game voting update came out. Let’s take a look at the results. The update only includes the top 5 vote getters, so I’ll put down the top vote getter, their votes, and the #5 vote getter and their votes so we can see the gap between the two:
#1: Adrian Gonzalez, 929,016 votes
#5: Joey Votto, 384,285 votes
#1: Dee Gordon, 934,249 votes
#5: Joe Panik, 333,853 votes
Difference: 600,396 votes
#1: Matt Carpenter, 1,113,060 votes
#5:Nolan Arenado, 309,823 votes
Difference: 803,237 votes
#1: Yadier Molina, 859,520 votes
#5: Derek Norris, 275,067 votes
Difference: 584,453 votes
Outfield – For outfield, I’ll put down the #1-3 vote getters, as three get elected, as well as our very own Kemp and Upton
#1: Bryce Harper, 1,116,582 votes
#2: Matt Holliday, 979,008 votes
#3: Giancarlo Stanton, 746,926 votes
#8: Matt Kemp, 375,172 votes
#9: Justin Upton, 368,868 votes
Difference between #8 and #3: 371,754 votes
And finally, Shortstop
#1: Jhonny Peralta, 595,741 votes
#5: Brandon Crawford, 417,604 votes
Difference: 178,137 votes
The Padres front office is starting a #VotePadres campaign highlighting the need to vote for Derek Norris, Kemp and Upton. But as you can see in the vote distribution, Derek Norris has a 584K vote gap to close, against a popular Yadier Molina. In the case of Kemp and Upton, they have a slightly smaller gap to close of 371K to catch up to Giancarlo Stanton. Unfortunately, the top 3 vote getters for OF are immensely popular, shown by the fact that the difference between #3 and #4 (Nori Aoki) is 305K votes. Quite a drop off from the top 3, and the rest of the field. So looking at the options, shortstop sticks out for two reasons: the apparent lack of interest in voting for this category, and the relatively small disparity in votes between #1 and #5. With Troy Tulowitzki having a down year (he scored over 3 million votes last year), the shortstop category is there for the taking.
You will never catch me saying that Alexi Amarista is the most deserving Padre to make the All-Star Game. But at the same time, was Benito Santiago back in the day REALLY the best NL catcher when he was getting voted in yearly? Of course not. But was it awesome as a Padres fan to have him voted in, getting to see the Padres uniform on national TV in the spotlight? Yes, a thousand times yes. Similarly, as a fan of the Padres team, I would be thrilled to maximize the number of players on my team that make the All-Star Game, regardless of worth. Upton if he keeps it up, possibly Norris, Shields, etc. have great chances at making the team as a manager selected reserve, but they have little to no chance at being elected. Alexi Amarista does. Like, with a little grassroots effort, he could realistically be elected.
Here’s a little math. The MLB All-Star Game voting site lets you vote 35 times per day, per e-mail address. It should be noted that there is no verification of e-mail addresses, you could throw in email@example.com and it would take it and give you 35 votes. But let’s just say you are conservative and each person votes their 35 times once a day using their e-mail address. There are 35 days until the end of voting. We would only need 571 people to undertake this effort to gain an additional 700K votes for Amarista. 571 people isn’t that much. And that’s not taking into account people who in their idle time at work, throw in another e-mail address. The MLB All-Star Game online ballot doesn’t even make you enter in all of your selections each time you vote. It saves it and just makes you reenter a new Captcha code, hit submit, and repeat 35 times. It took me 3 minutes to do 35 votes. Now imagine we get 1,000 people to do this, thats nearly 1.4 million additional votes. For reference, last year, the lowest vote getting position was 3B, where Aramis Ramirez only had 1.7M votes.
Using basic gamesmanship and electioneering strategy, Alexi Amarista is the “campaign” that Padres fans should be putting their resources into. Sure, vote for Norris, Kemp, Upton and the rest of the Padres too on your ballot, but realize that the numbers just aren’t in their favor. But with the simple effort of bookmarking the ASG ballot page and entering in 35 (or more!) votes for Padres and specifically Alexi Amarista per day, this team can feasibly have it’s first elected player in 16 years. Not to mention this is good practice for next year when the Padres will need to pull out all the stops to get as many players elected as possible for our home All Star Game.
Vote Alexi Amarista for starting NL ASG shortstop. He’s better than nobody.